By Breanna Inferrera
A VACANT site in Carmel could be ready for aged-care providers before Christmas, with the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) streamlining planning reforms.
At its meeting on May 6, WAPC deemed the rezoning of the vacant site at the intersection of Canning and Pomeroy Roads, known locally as Heidelberg Park, from the Parks and Recreation reservation to the Urban zone as a ‘minor amendment’.
In Schmitt win comes with aged care bonus prize (Echo News, November 9, 2019), it was revealed that through a land-swap, the State Government would acquire management of the site for the specific purpose of building an aged-care facility, while lots 23, 24 and 50 on Schmitt Road – which WAPC had originally planned to develop – would be given back to the City of Kalamunda, saving the Kalamunda Heritage Trail.
Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes spearheaded a campaign to save the land valued at $1.5 million by writing to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti in October 2018 and securing a hold on the sale of the land, and calling a 250-person strong community rally.
At the time, Mr Hughes said when he began the campaign, he couldn’t have imagined it would lead to much needed aged care in the hills.
He described the overall outcome as a double win for the community.
“This is great news for my community and its call for action to preserve the accustomed route of the Railway Heritage Travel through what has become known as the Schmitt Road land,” he said.
“I am pleased the amendment is only slight allowing these changes to ensure benefits to our community are accessible quickly.
“While it has taken time, this is a creative solution, I am pleased that the amendment has gone through so swiftly.
“This aspect of the land use package helps fulfil a specific election commitment of mine to find suitable land in the district for residential aged care.”
Friends of Aged Care coordinator Iris Jones, who has been a key campaigner for increasing aged care accessibility for more than a decade, said the news about Heidelberg Park was the best the community has had about aged care in years.
“It is a classic example of what can be achieved when both state and local government work together for the benefit of our needy elderly,” she said.
“The fact that this initiative could be ready for aged care providers by the end of the year is astonishing.
“Put simply, Matthew Hughes has kicked the door down on the aged care crisis and the elderly now have hope after years of neglect.
“Well done to all concerned in this historic initiative.”